In April of this year I returned from an inspirational week in Barcelona
The trip has further consolidated my belief that I am in the right profession and fuelled my motivation to develop into a culturally conscious and open minded professional.
The nursing students from my university and me attended the European Network of Nursing Education (ENNE) Intensive Programme. This was before the referendum in June when a majority chose that Britain should leave the European Union. I am not sure how this decision will affect British academic institutions’ participation in ENNE, let alone how it will affect the future of nursing in Britain as a whole.
However, my experience as part of a European conference of student nurses was incredibly beneficial as I explored key issues in nursing with international colleagues.
”We discussed the concept of an ideal European bachelor nurse if a standardised training programme existed for all nursing students across Europe”
ENNE is made up of a network of nursing education institutions that hold a yearly intensive programme in one of the countries of its participating institutions. This year the intensive programme was held in Barcelona, hosted by the Faculty of Health department at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and with a programme theme of intercultural competencies.
During the week we exchanged knowledge amongst fellow students and teachers about our institution’s training programmes, the role of nursing in our country and cultural differences and similarities of nursing care.
We were divided into groups with members from different countries in order to provide diverse accounts of nursing care. Each group discussed the concept of an ideal European bachelor nurse if a standardised training programme existed for all nursing students across Europe.
”It was remarkable to hear the differences in aspects of nursing recruitment, courses and job expectancies”
This included thoughts on the application process to nursing and what desirable attributes and experiences prospective students should possess, core clinical competences, key values a nurse should have and whether to keep tuition fees and bursaries.
These discussions were summarised in a poster presentation and the results were interesting. Generally all groups felt the idea of a European bachelor nurse was a good one to aid continuity of skills, communication techniques and the ability to work in other countries.
It was remarkable to hear the differences in aspects of nursing recruitment, courses and job expectancies. For example, in one country nurses can work 24-hour shifts and in another there are no such positions as health care assistants – the nurse is solely responsible for all aspects of patient care.
”It definitely enhanced my life learning to compare and contrast nursing norms across Europe”
In some countries they do bedside handovers to promote patient and family inclusion and in others student nurses are trained to perform invasive procedures such as taking blood and catheterising from their first year.
It definitely enhanced my life learning to compare and contrast nursing norms across Europe.
I feel proud to have been chosen to represent our university at this ENNE programme and I would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to attend to take it and engage whole heartedly.
It has allowed me to develop not only my professional competencies but also myself as an individual. I have made international friendships and connections. I was able to practice my language skills. I got to embrace local cultures and traditions of our host city. Moreover I gained a deeper, more global understanding of what it means to be a nurse and how unique and valuable our profession truly is.
Rosa Milne is a current student nurse